Your customers are on social media
With over 3 billion internet users worldwide, and over 2 billion active on social media, there’s no doubt that the vast majority of your customer base will be connected. The main social platforms are giant household names, offering businesses a unique way to be in touch with their customers. A social media presence for businesses is now a necessity.
For estate agents, who now undertake a large part of their business online, social media channels have become a digital shop front acting as a gateway to their website. Estate agents are part of a massively competitive industry and brand recognition is therefore of the utmost importance for them. Social media engagement gives them this brand recognition. This infographic created by Lori Lewis illustrates the point.
Social media provides incredible amounts of data about your customers. Each and every day users post more than 500 million Tweets, 4.5 billion Likes on Facebook, and 95 million visuals to Instagram. Paying attention to this data can give you useful information about your customers, and engaging with and listening to those customers can let you make more informed business decisions. Estate agents can use lookalike audiences within Facebook Ads to target people interested in moving house; they can follow hashtags and geotags on Instagram which will connect them with those interested in a particular area; they can join Twitter chats on Twitter which will bring them to the attention of those in their local area.
Businesses are now expected to have a social media presence. A potential customer will no longer consult the Yellow Pages when looking for an estate agent. They will sit at their laptop and Google.
They also expect an interactive service on social. Even in 2013, 67% of customers were using social media for the purposes of customer service. If you can expand upon that connection by engaging with them, you are far more likely to gain a loyal customer, particularly if your estate agent competitors aren’t doing the same. Convince and Convert say that ‘answering a social media complaint increases customer advocacy by as much as 25%.’
A study by The Social Habit highlighted the connection between brand loyalty and social media followers, and the different habits among particular age groups. If you know your target customers, you’ll be able to identify where to find them on social media.
Social media is also an excellent way to reach key decision makers and identify new business opportunities. Facebook Ads can be used strategically to zero in on users by gender, age, location, interests, behaviour and LinkedIn can target company and job titles. Social done right also increases sales. Almost 75% of companies selling on social media increased their sales during a 12 month period.
Drive traffic to your website
Social media, with its huge audience, can be a great way to direct traffic to your estate agency website. There’s nowhere else you’ll find so many potential customers in one place. Social media can also assist you in monitoring your competitors – social listening via Hootsuite or another platform is when you monitor specific keywords or mentions, perhaps a rival estate agent, and you can then improve or amend your services according to your findings.
Improve your website search rankings
If you publish relevant, timely content which people will share, and it is linked to your website, you will push your site and your social media accounts up in the search rankings. Write blogs on relevant property issues which your potential customers will find helpful, checklists on quick improvements you can make when selling a property: content which is useful to your audience. Promote it on your social media channels. No need for any complicated SEO manipulation!
Create a relationship with customers
Social media isn’t a monologue, it’s a conversation. And if you make the effort to turn it into a rich, fulfilling conversation you can create a relationship which builds trust. This is an element often lacking in potential customers’ relationships with estate agents!
Traditional advertising just can’t do this. Your Facebook page isn’t somewhere you just sell. It’s where you can build a community, offer help, start a relationship. If you show some personality as a brand, customers will enjoy interacting with you without feeling they are being spammed about sales. In this way social media builds trust. In addition, a recent study showed that up to 81% of people are influenced by a brand’s posting on social media before purchasing.
The power of influencers
Influencers are like the TV stations of social media, but without the hefty advertising price tag. Sure, some huge bloggers may charge a fairly high price to work with you, but we aren’t talking prime time TV advertising fees here. And followers of a blogger trust the content they produce far more than anyone trusts a prime TV ad. If you build a relationship with that influencer, your brand slips into the trusted niche of all their dedicated followers.
In a sense everyone who uses social media to post opinions about brands becomes an influencer. We are powerfully influenced by social media testimonials, and put off by criticism. People posting on Twitter about their pleasant experience with your estate agency is gold dust!
Build your brand
Social media is an ideal platform to build your estate agent brand with videos, photos, articles and blogs and put it in front of potential customers. You need to tailor content to fit in with your brand identity. You must speak in your brand voice.
So many estate agents just post listings. Don’t do just this. Be different. Stand out. You are competing with all the other estate agents in the area to make your voice heard so make your channels the best.
The power of feedback & recommendation
Social media should be a conversation with your customers. They also talk to their friends, and tell them about their house-buying or house-selling experiences, good or bad. Feedback should be welcomed and acted upon (particularly if it’s negative). The internet world is always watching, and a well-handled complaint becomes a positive if dealt with really well. Don’t waste this opportunity to connect with your customers in a way that isn’t possible on any other media.
In the property world, people are looking for a brand they really trust to buy, sell or let their property. It’s a big expense at what may be a very stressful time, and they want things to run smoothly. Social media gives your estate agency the chance to present yourselves as professionals in the sector and build trust in your community.
Naturally, to do all of this well is very time-consuming and takes a lot of research. Your business may well benefit from the skills and experience of a professional social media manager. If you would like a free audit of your social media channels you can contact us at Socially Contented.